As airline bosses warn that average summer fares will rise above 2019 levels The Independent May reveal that the price of a Ryanair round trip to Italy in May increased 18 times within a week.
From London Stansted to Pisa – the gateway to Tuscany – a Monday night flight on May 23 costs just £11.99 – less than the £13 in Air Passenger Duty that Ryanair has to pay when passengers fly from one airport in the UK.
The mid-morning flight on Thursday 26 May is similarly priced, with round-trip fare just under £24.
However, identical flights exactly a week later, during the main half-term in the UK, cost significantly more: £269 out and £159 back, making for a total ticket price of £428.
Flight arrivals were actually down by almost £100 over the course of Thursday. At 9am this morning the return trip cost £525.
Everything about the trips is identical, except for the fare: same plane, same time, same small hand luggage.
Traditionally inflated airfares for flights during the school holiday and the Queen’s Platinum holiday weekend are also boosting demand in the days just before the celebrations kick off on June 2. .
However, the big difference in airfares is much more pronounced this summer. Off-peak departures seem to be selling slowly, while demand for family-friendly lights is on the rise.
Earlier this week, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said average summer airfares would be “pre-single-digit highs” from pre-pandemic levels.
“There’s just too much pent-up demand from families for the holidays,” Mr O’Leary said, releasing the airline’s half-year figures. They were locked up for 18 months or two years. There is sure to be a very strong comeback to Europe’s beaches this summer. “
Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, who is also commenting on the airline’s half-year results echoed his words today. At a meeting of analysts, he spoke of “a huge pent-up demand online – stronger in the UK than elsewhere”.
The airline says average fares for travel in July, August and September are 15% higher than in 2019, the last normal summer before the coronavirus pandemic.
Fares were last researched live with the Ryanair website at 4pm on Thursday 19 May.